By Elise Schoening
Fans of the original “Pitch Perfect” film should prepare themselves for disappointment going into the much-anticipated sequel. The first film, which was an international success and quickly became a fan favorite amongst teens, set the bar far too high to follow.
The sequel follows the Barden Bellas, an all-girl a cappella group, as they enter their senior year at Barden University and prepare for life after college. All the while, the group must fight to defend their title as the national champions following a disastrous performance at the Kennedy Center. It is both exciting and refreshing to see the stars from the first film crash and burn on stage and then try to redeem themselves.
While the storyline of the sequel may be more advanced, the dialogue is anything but mature. “Pitch Perfect 2” manages to be outrageously racist and sexist only three minutes into the film, and it all goes downhill from then on.
The film is filled with cheap one-liners that are not only offensive, but also fail to procure any laughter from the audience.
Most of the humor comes from Michael Higgins, who plays a commentator at the collegiate a cappella competitions. During a performance from the Barden Bellas, he refers to the group as “an inspiration to girls all over the country who are too ugly to be cheerleaders.”
Just moments later, Higgins comments that one of the Barden singers “may have to do that back flip right back over the fence into Mexico,” nevermind that the character in reference is in fact Guatemalan.
The crude humor throughout the film represents a larger issue amongst comedians today, where most of their jokes come at the expense of someone else.
In “Pitch Perfect 2,” many minority characters are turned into nothing more than a joke. The Barden Bellas have a number of diverse members in the group, including a black lesbian, an Asian and a Guatemalan. These characters present a great opportunity for positive representation of minority groups. Instead, they are all given minor roles in the film and turned into distasteful punch lines.
It is especially concerning how offensive and blatantly racist the sequel is considering the wide reach and success of the original film. “Pitch Perfect 2” is largely targeted at tweens and teens who may simply laugh off these stereotypes and jokes without considering how harmful they actually are.
The film attempts to redeem itself with special guests and catchy a cappella performances. The Green Bay Packers, Snoop Dogg and even President Obama along with wife, Michelle, all make short, surprise appearances on the big screen. But it is the musical performances that are undoubtedly the highlight of the film and remind viewers why they fell in love with the franchise to begin with.
Throughout the film, the Barden Bellas deliver their usual fun and eclectic mix of pop songs with a noteworthy performance at the World Championships. The best song, however, is the group rendition of “Cups,” which they sing together around the campfire as a tribute to the original “Pitch Perfect.”
“Pitch Perfect 2” is nothing spectacular. It’s not particularly funny, original or impactful. Still, the film offers an entertaining hour and a half if you have nothing do on a Saturday afternoon. “Pitch Perfect 2” is worth a watch on Netflix, but certainly not worth the $11 that I spent to see the feature in theatres.